Donations needed as demand for food skyrockets

Mar 31, 2020

As unemployment continues to rise, so too has the need for groceries and meals at Salvation Army locations in Minnesota and North Dakota. (Donate now and your gift will be matched.)

The most pressing need is in the Twin Cities, where demand for groceries and hot meals has doubled and even tripled at many of our service centers. For example: In just one week, the number of food boxes distributed at the West 7th Salvation Army in St. Paul (pictured) has catapulted from 186 families served to 634 families. 

These families are doing their best to survive amid historically difficult times. Their circumstances have revealed some incredible stories – such as the one below, written by one of our social workers:

Chelsea, a single mom with four kids under 10 years old, has been receiving food from our food pantry. Several days ago, Chelsea noticed a neighbor woman going through her trash looking for food scraps. As Chelsea approached, the neighbor – who is new to our country – could only manage to say, “No money. No food.” Chelsea was moved to give the woman some of the food she received from The Salvation Army, telling her how she also could get assistance. 

Our meal distributions have surged as well. These programs have now switched from cafeteria-style service to to-go food boxes distributed outside of our service centers – including the Eastside Salvation Army in St. Paul (pictured), where service has jumped from about 100 people served per weekday to as many as 300 people. 

“It’s important to remember that these added services are in addition to – not in place of – the services we’d been offering before COVID-19,” said Lt. Col. Lonneal Richardson, leader of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “Our staff and resources were already stretched thin before the COVID-19 crisis arrived, which means public support is needed now more than ever to help us meet the rising needs.”

Many local businesses are helping us meet these increased needs, including Olive Garden in Roseville, which has been supplying hundreds of to-go lunches for the Eastside Salvation Army in St. Paul and for residents of our Booth Manor and HOPE Harbor permanent housing facilities in Minneapolis. 

Members of the public have also been rising to the challenge by donating money through a $500,000 matching opportunity that ends Friday, April 3. Donate now

If you don’t have money to spare, you can still help by donating any of the following items at your local Salvation Army:

  • Nonperishable canned foods
  • Paper products (paper towels, toilet paper)
  • Baby supplies (diapers, wipes, formula)
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Disinfecting wipes

Please call your local Salvation Army before donating these items in order to confirm drop-off hours and procedures. 

“We are grateful for the kindness and generosity of our supporters,” said Lt. Col. Lonneal Richardson, leader of The Salvation Army Northern Division. “The Salvation Army is committed to using our resources to serve the most amount of people in the safest way possible.”

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